Russia and France urge Israel to continue settlement freeze
Russia and France on Tuesday urged Israel not to endanger Middle East peace talks by building new Jewish settlements on Palestinian land after the end of a settlement freeze this month.
"We are all very worried and we're waiting to see what will happen after the end of the Israeli settlement freeze on September 26," Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with France's Bernard Kouchner.
"We must see to it that the negotiations are not broken off on September 26. Everyone who can have an influence on the end of the moratorium must do everything in their power to prevent it," he said.
Kouchner echoed his colleague's concerns, calling on Russia, the European Union and Arab nations to do "use their entire weight" to push for the Israeli freeze to continue beyond the cut-off date.
Palestinian negotiators have already said that they would break off direct peace talks with Israel, which only restarted last week after a 20-month lull, if settlement building continues on occupied Palestinian land.
© 2010 AFP